The 2014 season featured a lot of rookie players making a huge impact for their respective teams. Some were hot right away while others took a couple of weeks to get the hang of things. Regardless, they all had fantasy value. Entering their second season, those players have high expectations. Here are the top sophomores and their projections.
Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Abreu was one of the top rookies entering the 2014 season. As a defecting Cuban, there were some question marks when the season began. That all changed when he hit four home runs and eight RBI in a three game span from April 8 to 10. He led all rookies in home runs and RBI and finished second in average at the end of 2014.
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Abreu has a great lineup around him, especially with the addition of Melky Cabrera. With guys that get on base and protection behind him, Abreu will finish in the top 10 again.
Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Another highly-touted prospect, Hamilton was the highest-drafted rookie last season. That kind of speed is something you cannot pass up. But, with the positives come the negatives. He had 56 steals, but was caught 23 times. He also struck out 117 times on his way to a .250 average.
Hamilton is a one-dimension fantasy player. He is good for speed, that’s it. While he could steal 60 bases, he can also hit just .240 with 110 strikeouts. As a top-20 outfielder and top-60 player overall, there is a big risk in drafting Hamilton.
Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Playing in a shallow fantasy position, Wong will be drafted high, but will it be worth it? The short answer is yes. He does everything good, not great, but good. He showed some power at the plate and speed around the bases. Wong hit 12 home runs and stole 20 bases. While the average was low, providing in those two categories is rare.
Wong will be hitting the bottom of the Cardinals lineup, but that’s not a bad thing. He will be able to drive in some runs and swipe some bags. Wong is a top-10 second baseman and is will fair well this season.
Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
One of three sophomores on the Cubs, Soler is a sleeper outfielder. In 24 games, he hit five home runs and 20 RBI with a .292 batting average and .330 on-base percentage. Just imagine what he could do in a full season, let alone 81 games.
With the Cubs rebuilding, Soler carved himself out a spot in the Cubs starting lineup as the starting right fielder. As the cleanup hitter, Soler will have no problem hitting 21/80/.270.
George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
Last but not least was the Astros top rookie. While undrafted, he was quickly added off of the waiver wire. He was a good source of power as he hit 20 home runs over the course of the season, 10 in May. The downside of Springer was his high strikeout rate. He had 114 in just 78 games.
Springer’s value will skyrocket if he can become more patient at the plate. However, that is not the case. Springer has speed, power and a free-swinging spirit. The low average will hurt Springer’s value in a Rotisserie league. That in addition to the possibility of 200 strikeouts makes him a hindrance to any owner.